Former GM Worker Recalls Launching Firebird Off Loading Ramps In 1969

Estimated read time 2 min read

L.G. Martin, a UAW Local 674 retiree, recently recounted a crazy experience at the General Motors Norwood Assembly Plant in 1969. In the video, the long-time GM employee recalls his career, the day at work he’ll never forget, and the Pontiac Firebird that never made it to the dealer lot.

The day unfolded as Martin was assigned to load a Firebird HO convertible onto the third level of a rail car. He found the car’s battery dead and had to wait for assistance to jump-start it. Once the Firebird was operational, Martin hurried to the rail load-out building, eager to catch up with the train. As he approached the ramp, he noticed his coworkers frantically waving at him. Misinterpreting their gestures as friendly greetings, Martin waved back and continued onto the ramp.

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Unknown to Martin, the rail car was already full, and, crucially, the usual warning cone signaling a closed ramp was missing. He realized the gravity of the situation only upon reaching the ramp’s summit, where he saw the train pulling the rail car away, leaving a gap of about 40 feet. Unable to stop in time, Martin and the Firebird launched off the ramp, soaring 25 feet through the air before crashing front-end first onto the rails below.

Remarkably, Martin survived the crash unscathed, despite his head striking the convertible top during the impact. The Firebird, however, was not as fortunate and was completely totaled in the accident. This loading accident became a legendary tale among those who built cars at the Norwood Assembly Plant, watch the full story below.

Image Credit: YouTube

Shawn Henry

Shawn Henry is an accomplished automotive journalist with a genuine passion for cars and a talent for storytelling. His expertise encompasses a broad spectrum of the automotive world, including classic cars, cutting-edge technology, and industry trends. Shawn's writing is characterized by a deep understanding of automotive engineering and design.

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